In an observational study, 100 cars were fitted with video cameras to record the
driver’s behaviour. Two psychologists used content analysis to analyse the data from
the films. They found that 75% of accidents involved a lack of attention by the
driver. The most common distractions were using a hands-free phone or talking to a
passenger. Other distractions included looking at the scenery, smoking, eating,
personal grooming and trying to reach something within the car.
1 8 What is content analysis?
1 9 Explain how the psychologists might have carried out content analysis to analyse
the film clips of driver behaviour.
2 0 Explain how the two psychologists might have assessed the reliability of their
The psychologists then designed an experiment to test the effects of using a handsfree phone on drivers’ attention. They recruited a sample of 30 experienced police
drivers and asked them to take part in two computer simulated driving tests. Both
tests involved watching a three-minute film of a road. Participants were instructed
to click the mouse as quickly as possible, when a potential hazard (such as a car pulling
out ahead) was spotted.
Each participant completed two computer-simulated driving tests:
• Test A, whilst chatting with one of the psychologists on a hands-free phone
• Test B, in silence, with no distractions
The order in which they completed the computer tests was counterbalanced.
2 1 Explain why the psychologists chose to use a repeated measures design in this
2 2 Identify one possible extraneous variable in this experiment. Explain how this
variable may have influenced the results of this experiment.
2 3 Explain how one factor in this experiment might affect its external validity.
2 4 Explain one or more ethical issues that the psychologists should have considered
in this experiment.
2 5 Write a set of standardised instructions that would be suitable to read out to
participants before they carry out Test A, chatting on a hands-free phone. (5
The computer simulator measured two aspects of driver behaviour:
• The number of hazards detected by each driver
• The time taken to respond to each hazard, in seconds
The mean scores for each of these measures is shown in Table 1
Table 1 Table to show the mean number of hazards detected and mean reaction
Times in seconds for Test A and Test B
Test A: with hands-free
Test B: in silence
Number of hazards
Reaction time in seconds
The psychologists then used an inferential statistical test to assess whether there
was a difference in the two conditions.
2 6 identify an appropriate statistical test to analyse the difference in the number
of hazards detected in the two conditions of this experiment. Explain why this test
of difference would be appropriate.
They found no significant difference in the number of hazards detected (p > 0.05)
but there was a significant difference in reaction time (p ≤ 0.01).
2 7 Explain why the psychologists did not think they had made a Type 1 error in
relation to the difference in reaction times.
2 8 replication is one feature of the scientific method. The psychologists decided to
replicate this experiment using a larger sample of 250 inexperienced drivers.
Explain why replication of the study would be useful.
Some studies have suggested that there may be a relationship between intelligence
and happiness. To investigate this claim, a psychologist used a standardised test to
measure intelligence in a sample of 30 children aged 11 years, who were chosen from a
local secondary school. He also asked the children to complete a self-report
questionnaire designed to measure happiness. The score from the intelligence test
was correlated with the score from the happiness questionnaire. The psychologist
used a Spearman’s rho test to analyse the data. He found that the correlation
between intelligence and happiness at age 11 was +0.42
1 7 Write an operationalised non-directional hypothesis for this study.
1 8 Identify an alternative method which could have been used to collect data about
happiness in this study. Explain why this method might be better than using a
1 9 What is meant by internal validity?
2 0 Describe how the internal validity of the happiness questionnaire could be
2 1 A spearman’s rho test was used to analyse the data. Give two reasons why this
test was used.
Table 1: Extract from table of critical values for Spearman’s rho (r s) test
N (number of
Level of significance for a two-tailed test
Level of significance for a one-tailed test
Calculated rs must equal to or exceed the table (critical) value for significance at the level shown.
2 2 The psychologist used a non-directional hypothesis. Using Table 1, state
whether or not the correlation between intelligence and happiness at age 11 (+0.42)
was significant. Explain your answer.
2 3 Five years later, the same young people were asked to complete the intelligence
test and the happiness questionnaire for a second time. This time the correlation was
With reference to both correlation scores, outline what these findings seem to show
about the link between intelligence and happiness.
The report was subjected to peer review before it was published in a journal.
2 4 What is meant by peer review?
2 5 Explain why peer review is an important aspect of the scientific process.
2 6 A psychology student was asked to design an investigation to see whether taking
exercise could increase feelings of happiness. She proposed to do an experiment.
She decided to recruit a sample of volunteers who had just joined a gym, by putting
up a poster in the gym. She planned to carry out a short interview with each
volunteer and to give each one a happiness score. She intended to interview the
volunteers again after they had attended the gym for six weeks and to reassess their
happiness scores to see if it had changed.
The psychology student’s teacher identified a number of limitations of the proposed
Explain one or more limitations of the student’s proposal and suggest how the
investigation could be improved.
1 6 Explain what is meant by replicability. Why is replicability an important feature
A maths teacher wondered whether there was a relationship between mathematical
ability and musical ability. She decided to test this out on the GCSE students in the
school. From 210 students, she randomly selected 10 and gave each of them two
tests. She used part of a GCSE exam paper to test their mathematical ability. The
higher the mark, the better the mathematical ability. She could not find a musical
ability test so she devised her own. She asked each student to sing a song of their
choice. She then rated their performance on a scale of 1-10, where 1 is completely
tuneless and 10 is in perfect tune.
1 7 Suggest a suitable non-directional hypothesis for this study.
1 8 Why might the measure of musical ability used by the teacher lack validity?
1 9 Explain how the teacher could have checked the reliability of the mathematical
2 0 Explain why the teacher chose to use a random sample for this study.
The results of the study are given in Table 1 below
Table 1: Mathematical ability test scores and musical ability ratings for 10 students
2 1 In your answer book, sketch a graph to show the data in Table 1. Give the graph
an appropriate title and label the axes.
( 3 marks)
2 2 Discuss what the data in Table 1 and the graph that you have sketched seem to
show about the relationship between mathematical ability and musical ability.
2 3 The teacher noticed that most of the students who were rated highly on musical
ability were left-handed. The teacher is aware that her previous definition of
musical ability lacked validity.
Design a study to test whether there is a difference in the musical ability of lefthanded students and right-handed students. You have access to a sixth form of 200
• Identify the design that you would use
• Explain an appropriate sampling method and justify your choice
• Describe the procedure that you would use, including details of how you would
assess musical ability
• Write a suitable debrief for these participants.
2 4 In your answer book, draw a table to show how you would record your results.
Identify an appropriate statistical test to analyse the data that you would collect.
Justify your choice.
Two psychologists investigated the relationship between age and recall of medical
advice. Previous research had shown that recall of medical advice tended to be poorer
in older patients. The study was conducted at a doctor’s surgery and involved a sample
of 30 patients aged between 18 and 78 years. They all saw the same doctor, who
made notes of the advice that she gave during the consultation.
One of the psychologists interviewed each of the patients individually, immediately
after they had seen the doctor. The psychologist asked each patient a set of
questions about what the doctor had said about their diagnosis and treatment. The
patients’ responses were recorded and then typed out. Working independently the
psychologists compared each typed account with the doctor’s written notes in order
to rate the accuracy of the accounts on a scale of 1 – 10. A high rating indicated that
the patient’s recall was very accurate and a low rating indicated that the patient’s
recall was very inaccurate.
1 6 The psychologists decided to propose a directional hypothesis. Why was a
directional hypothesis appropriate in this case?
1 7 Write a suitable directional hypothesis for this investigation.
1 8 The psychologists were careful to consider the issue of reliability during the
study. What is meant by reliability?
1 9 Explain how the psychologists might have assessed the reliability of their
2 0 This study collected both qualitative and quantitative data. From the description
of the study above, identify the qualitative data and the quantitative data. (2 marks)
The psychologists used Spearman’s rho to analyse the data from their investigation.
They chose to use the 0.05 level of significance. The result gave a correlation
coefficient of - 0.52.
2 1 Give two reasons why the psychologists used Spearman’s rho to analyse the data.
2 2 Using Table 1 below, state whether the result is significant or not significant
and explain why.
2 3 Explain what is meant by a Type 1 error.
2 4 Use the information in Table 1 above to explain why the psychologists did not
think that they had made a Type 1 error in this case.
The psychologists then wanted to see whether the use of diagrams in medical
consultations would affect recall of medical information.
In a laboratory experiment involving a medical consultation role-play, participants
were randomly allocated to one of two conditions. In Condition A, a doctor used
diagrams to present to each participant a series of facts about high blood pressure.
In Condition B, the same doctor presented the same series of facts about high blood
pressure to each participant but without the use of diagrams.
At the end of the consultation, participants were tested on their recall of facts
about high blood pressure. Each participant was given a score out of ten for the
number of facts recalled.
2 5 In this case, the psychologists decided to use a laboratory experiment rather
than a field experiment. Discuss advantages of carrying out this experiment in a
2 6 Identify an appropriate statistical test that the psychologists could use to
analyse the data from the follow-up study. Give one reason why this test is
2 7 Research has shown that music can affect the ability to concentrate. Design an
experiment that could be carried out in a classroom to test the effects of two
different kinds of music on a task requiring concentration (e.g. word search).
You must use a repeated measures design.
In your answer you should:
fully operationalise the independent and dependent variables
provide details of how you would control extraneous variables
describe the procedure that you would use. You should provide sufficient
detail for the study to be carried out.
It is thought that colours might affect our performance when carrying out certain
tasks. Research in this area has been inconclusive. Some studies have shown that red
improves performance but others have found the opposite. It could be that these
contradictory results have arisen because red is beneficial only for certain kinds of
mental processing. Some psychologists tested this hypothesis in a series of
independent-groups design experiments using students at a Canadian university.
The experiments involved computer tasks, with either a red, blue or neutral
background appearing on the monitor. The researchers found that participants were
better at a word-recall task and a spell-checking task when the screen background
was red rather than blue or neutral. However, participants thought of more creative
ideas when the screen was blue rather than red or neutral.
The researchers concluded that red is beneficial for tasks that require attention to
detail whereas blue aids creativity.
1 7 What were the researchers’ aims in this study?
Imagine that you are writing up the report for this series of experiments.
1 8 What is the purpose of the introduction section of a report?
A psychological report also contains a discussion section. Researchers are expected
to consider their findings critically and discuss issues such as validity.
1 9 What is meant by validity?
2 0 Explain how one factor in this study might affect its internal validity and how
one factor might affect its external validity.
(2 marks + 2 marks)
2 1 In the discussion section, researchers are also expected to consider any possible
applications of their research. Suggest one practical application that might arise
from these findings.
In a further experiment, participants were given 20 blue shapes or 20 red shapes.
They were then asked to pick 5 shapes and use them to make a toy suitable for a
child aged between five and eleven years. They were given a limited time to carry out
Participants given red shapes made toys that independent judges rated to be more
practical but less original, whereas participants given blue shapes made more creative
2 2 Explain why the researchers asked independent judges to rate the toys.
2 3 Write a set of standardised instructions that would be suitable to read out to
participants in this experiment.
Psychological research suggests an association between birth order and certain
For example, first-born children are often logical in their thinking whereas later-born
children tend to be more creative. A psychologist wonders whether this might mean
that birth order is associated with different career choices. She decides to
investigate and asks 50 artists and 65 lawyers whether they were the first-born
child in the family or not.
2 4 Write a non-directional hypothesis for this study.
2 5 Identify an appropriate sampling method for this study and explain how the
psychologist might have obtained such a sample.
The psychologist found the following results:
20 of the 50 artists were first-born children
35 of the 65 lawyers were first-born children
She analysed her data using a statistical test and calculated a value of X2 = 2.27. She
then looked at the relevant table to see whether this value was statistically
significant. An extract from the table is provided below.
2 6 Imagine that you are writing the results section of the report on this
investigation. Using information from the description of the study above and the
relevant information from the statistical table, provide contents suitable for the
You must provide all of the following:
an appropriately labelled 2 2 contingency table
a sketch of an appropriately labelled bar chart
identification of the appropriate statistical test with justification for its
identification of an appropriate significance level
a statement of the results of the statistical test in relation to the
A teacher has worked in the same primary school for two years. While chatting to
the children, she is concerned to find that the majority of them come to school
without having eaten a healthy breakfast. In her opinion, children who eat ‘a decent
breakfast’ learn to read more quickly and are better behaved than children who do
not. She now wants to set up a pre-school breakfast club for the children so that
they can all have this beneficial start to the day. The local authority is not willing to
spend money on this project purely on the basis of the teacher’s opinion and insists on
having scientific evidence for the claimed benefits of eating a healthy breakfast.
1 9 Explain why the teacher’s personal opinion cannot be accepted as scientific
evidence. Refer to some of the major features of science in your answer. (6 marks)
A psychologist at the local university agrees to carry out a study to investigate the
claim that eating a healthy breakfast improves reading skills. He has access to 400
five-year-old children from 10 local schools, and decides to use 100 children (50 in
the experimental group and 50 in the control group). Since the children are so young,
he needs to obtain parental consent for them to take part in his study.
2 0 The psychologist used a random sampling method. Explain how he could have
obtained his sample using this method.
2 1 Explain limitations of using random sampling in this study.
2 2 Explain why it is important to operationalise the independent variable and the
dependent variable in this study and suggest how the psychologist might do this.
2 3 The psychologist used a Mann-Whitney test to analyse the data. Give two
reasons why he chose this test.
2 4 He could have used a matched pairs design. Explain why this design would have
been more difficult to use in this study.
2 5 Other than parental consent, identify one ethical issue raised in this study and
explain how the psychologist might address it.
2 6 The psychologist asks some of his students to conduct a separate observational
study at the same time on the same group of children. The aim of this observational
study is to test the idea that eating a healthy breakfast affects playground
Design an observational study to investigate the effects of a healthy breakfast on
playground behaviour. Include in your answer sufficient detail to allow for reasonable
replication of the study. You should state the hypothesis you are setting out to test.
In your answer, refer to:
an appropriate method of investigation
materials/apparatus and procedure.
Justify your design decisions.
1 8 Outline what is meant by the term peer review in psychological research.
1 9 Explain why peer review is important in psychological research.
Read the text below and answer questions 2 0 , 2 1 and 2 2 .
A psychologist was interested in looking at the effects of a restricted diet on
psychological functioning. A group of 20 healthy, young adult volunteers agreed to
spend four weeks in a research unit. They were kept warm and comfortable but given
only water and small amounts of plain food. They were able to socialise with one
another and watch television, but they had to keep to strict, set mealtimes and were
not allowed to eat anything between meals. The psychologist carried out various tests
of emotional and cognitive functioning during this four-week period. One area of
interest for the psychologist was the effect of the dietary restriction on the
perception of food. He tested this by asking the volunteers to draw pictures of food
at the end of each week. When all the drawings had been completed, the psychologist
used content analysis to analyse them.
2 0 What is meant by the term content analysis?
2 1 Explain how the psychologist might have carried out content analysis to analyse
2 2 The psychologist needed to be sure that his participants understood the nature
of the study so that they were able to give informed consent.
Write a consent form which would be suitable for this study. Make sure there is
sufficient information about the study for the participants to make an informed
2 3 The psychologist was also interested in the effects of a restricted diet on
memory functioning and he expected memory to become impaired. The psychologist’s
hypothesis was that participants’ scores on a memory test are lower after a
restricted diet than before a restricted diet. He gave the volunteers a memory test
when they first arrived in the research unit and a similar test at the end of the fourweek period. He recorded the memory scores on both tests and analysed them using
the Wilcoxon signed ranks test.
He set his significance level at 5%.
His calculated value was T = 53.
State whether the hypothesis for this study is directional or non-directional.
Using Table 1, state whether or not the psychologist’s result was significant. Explain
Read the text below and answer questions 2 5 to 2 8.
A psychologist is using the observational method to look at verbal aggression in a
group of children with behavioural difficulties. Pairs of observers watch a single child
in the class for a period of one hour and note the number of verbally aggressive acts
within ten-minute time intervals. After seeing the first set of ratings, the
psychologist becomes concerned about the quality of inter-rater reliability. The tally
chart for the two observers is shown in Table 2.
2 5 Use the data in Table 2 to sketch a scattergram. Label the axes and give the
scattergram a title.
2 6 Using the data in Table 2, explain why the psychologist is concerned about interrater reliability.
2 7 Identify an appropriate statistical test to check the inter-rater reliability of
these two observers. Explain why this is an appropriate test.
2 8 If the psychologist does find low reliability, what could she do to improve interrater reliability before proceeding with the observational research?